Full Text

Action Research

Robert Louis Flood

Subject Sociology » Methods in Sociology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Action research refers to participatory processes that are democratic in nature, in which action is undertaken in a social context that leads to improvements, having accommodated for the needs of all stakeholders, while, at the same time, the process facilitates social research about action for improvement through participation and aids social research in general. The kinds of actions that constitute action research are unbounded. Action may focus on improving basic conditions in communities in developing countries, performance in a commercial organization, understanding and influencing the impact of humans on the environment, education systems for adults, conservation of diminishing natural resources such as fish stocks or oil, and so on ad infinitum . Wherever there is a social issue there is a need for action. Research in action research is both formative (what might we do?) and summative (what have we learned?). Formative research involves stakeholders in defining key issues, identifying possible kinds of improvement, choosing what to improve and how to make the improvements, and developing ways of evaluating whether improvement has been achieved or not. Summative research involves consolidation of learning from the process of action yielding experiential knowledge about tools and methods employed, concepts and models generated, and indeed the methodology utilized or developed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top